We know you might be upset that you have braces or you might think you can skimp on dental hygiene. Think again. If you have braces, it is important to remain diligent and maintain optimal oral hygiene. To help, we’ve put together a few tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy during your orthodontic treatment.

Brush your teeth carefully. The use of a toothbrush daily can remove debris from your teeth and braces, so don’t let any food get trapped! When brushing, choose a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove the debris from your teeth, brackets and wires. And remember, if your current toothbrush is not doing the job, consider getting a specialized toothbrush from your dentist. These v-shaped bristles can fit around braces–it’s worth asking.

Floss, floss, floss. Just because you have braces, doesn’t mean you should skip the floss. It is important to floss under the wires of your braces every day. If you are having trouble getting the floss under the wires, just use a floss threader with regular floss. You can also buy special stiff-tipped floss that is made for those who wear braces. Either way you look at it, flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth when you have braces.

Go to your dental appointments. This is important–don’t skip your appointments with your dentist or orthodontist. If you have a follow-up appointment, make sure you go. You will also need to make appointments for regular cleanings and examinations. Some dentists will clean around your wires, but others might ask your orthodontist to remove the wires before cleaning. Ask your dentist before you schedule your appointments what is best.